The new On-Line Safety Bill

18th March 2022 Business Crime

On the 17th March 2022 the UK government published the draft Online Safety Bill which is designed to tackle a wide range of online harms, ranging from bullying and fraud to child abuse.

If and when the bill become law, the owners of social media platforms; search engines, and other online services  must mitigate the risk of harm arising from illegal content, by minimising the circulation of such material.

For example, material related to child sexual abuse and terrorist material. The Government is also expected to confirm that these services will also be required to tackle user-generated online fraud. services that enable user-generated content will also be expected to protect the safety of children when they are online.

Ofcom are to be given the power to impose fines of up to £18 million, or ten per cent of a company’s qualifying revenue, upon companies which fail in their new duty of care.

Some so called “Category 1” sites will also be required to act in relation to material which might be harmful to adults, even though that material may be legal. Examples of such content might be material which encourages self-harm or which amounts to cyber-bullying

Companies will be expected to make clear the steps they will take to deal with these issues, and they will be held accountable by Ofcom for their actions.

If you have any questions related to the On-Line Safety Bill or any other business crime issues, please do not hesitate to contact us as we have expertise, gained over many years and in on-going cases, to assist and guide you

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Mike Rainford is a Partner located in Manchester in our Business Crime & Regulation department

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Phillip Barlow is a Solicitor located in Manchester in our Business Crime & Regulation department

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